Group to Clone California Redwoods

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 29, 2007   View Article

The towering redwood trees that once dominated the coastal forests of the U.S. West Coast may soon be restored throughout their historic range.

A group of historic tree buffs will collect genetic samples Tuesday from the tops of several old-growth redwood trees in California—the first step in cloning the trees and regrowing lost forests.

Gene Altered Plant, Tree Can Suck Up Toxins

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 15, 2007   View Article

Two types of genetically modified plants can remove toxic compounds from the environment, according to research by a pair of independent groups.

One group developed Arabidopsis plants—small plants related to cabbage and mustard—that can clean up soil contaminated with cyclonite, or RDX. The widely used explosive is highly toxic and carcinogenic.

Mammoth Hair Yields Ancient DNA, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 27, 2007   View Article

The thick coats of shaggy hair that kept woolly mammoths warm on the icy tundra have yielded enough intact DNA to sequence their genomes, a new study reports.

In addition to helping scientists figure out why mammoths went extinct, the feat could pave the way for better and faster genetic studies of other ancient animals.

Pig DNA Study Suggests New Path of Pacific Human Migration

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 20, 2007   View Article

Like following a trail of genetic breadcrumbs, researchers have used pig DNA to reconstruct the migration route of humans out of Asia and into the Pacific.

Genetic Family Tree of All Life Is Bearing Fruit

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 6, 2006   View Article

New cures, supercrops, and secrets of evolution may emerge from the fast-growing branches of the “Tree of Life,” scientists say.

The increasing availability of genetic information—and the computer technology to analyze it—is allowing researchers to begin drawing a detailed picture of how life on Earth originated, adapted, and diversified.

Men Have Biological Clocks Too, Sperm Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 6, 2006   View Article

Note to men: You’ve got a biological clock too, and it’s ticking.

It’s not just women who face decreased reproductive success with age. The genetic quality of sperm deteriorates as men get older, according to a new study.

Humans Are Birdbrained When Learning Speech, Study Hints

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 17, 2006   View Article

Hummingbirds are well known for their ability to flap their wings at an eye-blurring 75 beats or more per second. Less known, perhaps, is the fact that they can learn to sing the hummingbird equivalent of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

Like parrots and sparrows, whales and dolphins, and bats and humans, hummingbirds are part of a select group of animals that possess the ability to imitate and learn sounds—a process known as vocal learning.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach